Surprisingly, Packers Fans Have Handled Big Win With Class

I admit, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XVL Sunday night, and over the past 48 hours, their fans have been too caught up in revelry to rub it in the face of Vikings fans like myself. Don’t get me wrong — there’s been very little sports media consumption for me this week. No ESPN. No KFAN. No Star Tribune sports section. Hell, I didn’t even log into Facebook until Monday afternoon. The Packers and their fans have every right to celebrate that Super Bowl win and it doesn’t bother me at all. But I totally expected Cheeseheads everywhere to resort to child-like boasting.

Guess what — it hasn’t happened. Yet.

An NFL lockout looms if players and owners can’t agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by March 4. It’s possible the Packers will hold the title of “defending Super Bowl champs” even longer than usual. If next season is wiped out, the Cheeseheads get to flaunt their Lombardi Trophy until February 2013. In reality, the Vikings could be rooted in Los Angeles by then. Think about it.

Or don’t. It’s been a rough enough week for Vikings fans as it is.

I call her a Packers fan. Someone in Green Bay calls her mom.

Packers faithful have been nothing but gracious thus far. From what I can tell, the team is made up of upstanding characters who respect and understand their unique franchise, so they’re hard to hate. They’re a team that’s built for the future and a run of dominance that could well outlast the Vikings’ stay in Minnesota. That idea isn’t as painful as it once was, because as long as I can tune out the TV, radio and Internet and avoid public places for a few days, I can ignore each subsequent Super Bowl win. Go wild, Cheeseheads. You go enjoy your little dynasty run in your silly foam hats.

As much as it eats at my soul, I want to congratulate the Green Bay Packers and their fans for… — God, I can’t do this. Yuck. I’d rather comb Clay Matthews’ mane.

OK. Let’s try this again. Kudos to the Packers and their fans for…—No. Hell no. I’d rather eat Cheerios out of Mark Tauscher‘s jock strap.

One more time, with feeling.

Thanks to the Packers and their fans for not being completely obnoxious about winning the Super Bowl … EVEN THOUGH WE BOTH KNOW THE STEELERS COMPLETELY LAID AN EGG AND THERE’S A GOOD-TO-GREAT CHANCE THE GAME WAS RIGGED BY THE NFL TO ERASE THE MEMORY OF BRETT FAVRE AND POSITION AARON RODGERS AS THE NFL’S NEXT MOST LOVABLE QUARTERBACK SINCE PEYTON MANNING IS 35 AND PROBABLY ON THE WAY OUT!!!

Is it baseball season yet? How about them Brewers?

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Nick Collins Apologizes — But What About the Bears Fan?

NFL players get fined for responding to unruly fans. But what happens to the unruly fan?

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers have the longest-standing rivalry in the National Football League, and although players from each team probably couldn’t care less about the 90-year grudge, it’s still a game that brings out intense emotion.

The Bears and Packers added another chapter to the NFL’s oldest slugfest on Monday night when Chicago eked by Green Bay 20-17 on a late field goal. The upstart Bears moved to 3-0 while the Packers — overwhelming favorites to win the NFC North — fell to 2-1.

According to WITI-TV FOX6 Milwaukee, as Packers safety Nick Collins was exiting Soldier Field through a tunnel, a Bears fan spat on him and called him the N-word. Collins, caught on several cameras, reacted to the fan by throwing his mouthguard and shouting back:

On Wednesday, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers offered support for Collins:

“I think fans sometimes forget we’re human. And then some fans think that because they’re behind the rail, or gate, or stadium fence, that that gives them the right to do whatever they want … Fans would probably counter with, ‘Hey, I bought the ticket, I can say whatever I want.’ … I really don’t think that’s right.”

Collins was apologetic for his role in the incident, saying:

“This is a situation that I could have walked away from but (in the) heat of the moment, things happen. Both sides (were) out of line. It was just a situation I shouldn’t have been a part of. I should have just kept walking into the locker room … I’m a grown man. I’m a big boy. And like I said before, I shouldn’t have put myself in that position. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the hype and the emotion from the game.”

Collins will likely receive a fine from the NFL while the Bears fan has a story to tell his buddies. That’s not right.

I don’t condone violence, but this is where the NFL, and more importantly, society gets it wrong. Collins is forced to apologize for responding to the incident when he had nothing to do with starting it. For that, he’ll be about $10,000 lighter come the weekend. The NFL can’t hold the Bears fan responsible, but an example should be made. How about a lifetime ban from Bears games? How about the Bears fan is no longer allowed at Soldier Field, period? How about he gets a second chance to stand toe-to-toe with Collins, spit in his face and call him the N-word? (Somebody watch the door, please.)

I don’t go to football games. Or at least, I avoid them when I can. Too much testosterone, alcohol, buffoonery. It’s an unhealthy mix that too often boils over into altercation. Don’t get me wrong — I’ll tailgate. However, the modern football fan is too emboldened, too entitled. Four hours in a stadium seat swigging from a flask can only mean bad things. I’d rather watch at home and stay away from drunken boneheads.

Players cross the line and the league reacts swiftly. Rightfully so. However, the NFL should do more to ensure unruly fans aren’t negatively affecting the experience for anyone else, players included.

UPDATED Apparently I’m not alone on this. Mark Craig, NFL reporter for the Minneapoli Star Tribune, writes, “In my perfect NFL world, a fan who spits on and/or hurls racial slurs at a player would face the consequences of the player having the legal right to deliver a good, stiff punch to the fan’s over-served snout.” I completely agree.

I Couldn’t Stand Favre, But This?

071127_gregpaulus_vmed_9pwidecThough I would file it under “Highly Unlikely,” there’s a report that graduating Duke point guard Greg Paulus recently worked out with the Green Bay Packers. Paulus was a highly touted high school quarterback out of Syracuse, N.Y., but ultimately chose to play for Coach K instead. Paulus’ role diminished his senior season though he was able to maintain “Most Hated Dukie” status. (A close second: Jon Scheyer.)

Of course, the odds are slim Paulus will make an NFL team after four years away from football. But as a Vikings fan and someone who had to withstand five decades of Brett Favre in green and gold, I can’t bear the thought of Paulus leading the Pack. Gross.